Day 2 of the Greynolds Classic in Barberton gave hoops fans a real look at some of the better teams in the region with four exciting games that would have made Coach Jack proud.
In Game One, Northwestern Huskies defeated the Manchester Panthers 60-52. The Huskies controlled the tempo early hitting 5 early threes to put Manchester in an early hole. Gene Schindewolf's Manchester squad didn't help their cause with turnovers and missed shots from close range. The Panthers battled hard throughout the game cutting a double-digit deficit to four in the second half, but couldn't get over the hump. Northwestern junior Drew Kline was 1590 WAKR Player of the Game with points and 10 rebounds. Senior Seth Chappell paced the Panthers with 23 points and was Manchester's Player of the Game.
Northwestern coach Mark Alberts, Jr said it was not only Kline, but senior Kody Kidd who contributed for the Huskies.
"They both did a great job, fighting hard and getting key points down the stretch, but credit Manchester for playing hard thw whole game and providing a good challenge for us."
In Game 2, Twinsburg topped Medina 68-63. The Tigers' tough defense was a problem for the Battling Bees all game long, as Medina was forced into turnovers and a disrupted game plan offensively. Twinsburg junor Jalen Washington led the way with 23 points, but also played a good floor game as well, dishing out 7 assists and pulling down 5 rebounds. Malik Billingsley was clutch as well, chipping in 17 points, and AJ Edwards contributing 11. For Medina, Billy Geschke hit for 21, including a couple of long-range bombs. Senior post player Mason Schreck had 10 points, but made an impact on the defensive end, changing several shots and grabbing eight rebounds.
Twinsburg head coach Bob Pasci said by controlling the tempo with their defense forced the Battling Bees into a series of turnovers that swung the momentum their way.
"Our defense was huge, we got them to take shots they don't want to take and that was a key factor in the game."
Game 3 was an up-and-down affair as Bedford St Peter Chanel and Malvern battled with Chanel beating the Hornets 72-55. The athleticism and length of the Firebirds of Chanel was tough for Malvern and coach Dennis Tucci as they were held to 29 first-half points and 9 turnovers. Senior guard Damon Jones took home Player of the Game honors for Chanel as he scored a team-high 15 points. Senior Travis Tucci paced the Hornets with 17 points. Chanel coach Hugh McMahon said it was crucial for his team to get out and run.
"Our pressure defense really set the tone for us, forcing them into turnovers and getting us easy buckets."
And finally, in the nightcap host school Barberton and Nordonia met up in a matchup of undefeated teams, with the Knights prevailing by a count of 60-51.
Both teams struggled to find themselves offensively,as evidenced with and 19-18 first half in favor of Matt Cash's Knights, but coach Ken Rector's Magics squad benefitted from a couple three-balls from senior guard Eric Hummel in the first half. Nordonia with their length and athleticism tried to get things going, but missed some shots in transition.
Barberton meanwhile, came out aggressive in the second half, converting on some Nordonia turnovers, on some fast break points. When the Magics got a little too close for comfort, Nordonia senior Nick Rodriguez fired up his team on the bench, urging them to "let's go". That message was received loud and clear by fellow senior Jarrett Ruffin who came alive in the second half, finishing with a game-high 20 points, picking up Player of the Game honors. Chris Scott had a good game in the post with 13 and Rodriguez also had 13 for the Knights.
Nordonia coach Matt Cash had to tip his hat to the Magics for the job they did defensively.
"They're a tough team, especially in the post, Coach Rector does a great job, we had to make some adjustments and get our tempo and our style going," he said.
Barberton had four players in double figures, led by Eric Hummel with 12, Joshua Williams and Jamir House had 10 apiece, and D.J Phillips had 11.
This tournament lived up to its billing as a showcase for some of the area's best teams, but also highlighted something a little deeper, and that's stroke awareness, as all proceeds from the tournament went to stroke research as well as youth programs in Barberton.
If 2011 was any indication, the 2012 tournament should be another exciting event.